Electric Vehicles and Vehicle Charging Stations

In Saanich, passenger cars, trucks and SUVs account for over 50% of our community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or over 255,000 tonnes of GHGs per year. Low carbon transportation options such as electric vehicles (EVs) and active transportation have been steadily increasing and are important climate solutions that we are and will continue to support through our climate action plan.

Electric Vehicle Charging Locations

Plugshare.com provides information on the location of stations, any fees that may apply and real-time information on whether the stations are in use. The Capital Region now has three DC Fast Chargers and dozens of Level 2 Chargers, including two EV stations at each of the following Saanich facilities:

  • Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave (Look for the Visitor Parking signs to find the public charger. Avoid the fleet only charging stations beside the Annex building.)
  • Saanich Commonwealth Place, 4636 Elk Lake Drive
  • Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Rd
  • Cedar Hill Golf Course, 1400 Derby Road
  • Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Rd
  • Gordon Head Recreation Centre, 4100 Lambrick Way

Use a credit card or Flo / AddEnergie pass card or the Flo app on your smart phone to gain access. Sign up to get your own card or download the app for Flo / AddEnergie stations in Saanich and around the region.

EV charging at Saanich facilities is currently provided to residents for free, but you’ll have a 3-hour time limit.

Electric Vehicle Rebates

There is currently up to $14,000 in rebates on new electric vehicles for BC residents through the Federal Government, the Provincial Government, and the Scrap-It program. Visit pluginbc.ca for up to date information on current vehicle and charging incentives, as well as answers to any of your EV questions.

EV Charging Station Rebates

BC residents can get a $350 rebate from the Provincial Government when they install a Level 2 charging station in their home. Condos, apartments, and workplaces can get up to $2000 per Level 2 charger. For more information visit https://goelectricbc.gov.bc.ca/.

Electric Vehicle Policy

The BC Zero Emission Vehicle Act sets targets for the share of zero emission vehicles in sales of new light-duty cars and trucks in BC, reaching 100% by 2040. This policy, alongside our ambitious climate targets means that Saanich and other local governments must ensure that our buildings and transportation systems are future-proofed with access to adequate EV charging to support this transition.

Saanich staff are currently exploring opportunities and actions to support uptake of electric vehicles in our community, in alignment with the update of our Climate Action Plan, 100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich.

Requirements for new developments
An important first step is the development of requirements for EV-ready new development. The most cost-effective time to install EV charging infrastructure is at time of construction, and the recent emergence of EV energy management systems (EVEMS) has significantly reduced the cost of installation in new development by reducing the amount of electrical capacity and infrastructure required.

To date, nine local governments in BC, including Vancouver and other Lower Mainland municipalities and the District of Squamish, have adopted an EV-ready requirement for 100% of residential stalls, with some also including requirements for commercial and institutional developments.

Saanich staff have developed proposed requirements for EV charging in most of the building uses that have parking space requirements under the District’s Zoning Bylaw [PDF - 22 MB]. The proposed requirements reflect research into best practices and approaches in other municipalities as well as two rounds of community and stakeholder engagement. The EV Infrastructure Requirement Engagement Summary [PDF - 844 KB] provides details on the engagement activities and the input and feedback provided by community members and stakeholders.

Proposed requirements:

  • Single family detached homes, duplexes and townhouses: one parking space must be energized (be able to accommodate a Level 2 charging station) per dwelling unit; the actual charging station does not need to be installed.
  • Multi-unit residential buildings: 100% of spaces, excluding visitor parking, must be energized, but the actual charging stations don’t need to be installed.
  • Institutional, commercial, and industrial buildings: 0-5% of stalls (or comparable number) must be energized, depending on the building use. The requirements reflect the expected dwell time of public users, likelihood of employees parking on-site, and likelihood of users coming from a long distance and requiring charging for their return trip. For most building uses, there is also a requirement to install a modest number of Level 2 charging stations, to help increase Saanich’s network of publicly-accessible charging stations.

Staff have submitted the proposed requirements to District Council for consideration at their September 30, 2019 meeting. For more details, please see the staff report.

Future Directions

In collaboration with the Capital Regional District and other local municipalities, we’re looking into best practices and will be bringing forward strategies such as:

  • Supporting retrofits to install EV charging in existing buildings
  • Expanding the current public charging network
  • Supporting the use of e-bikes

Get “plugged in” to updates, news and opportunities for input on electric vehicle initiatives in Saanich by signing up to our EV newsletter.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Interest in EVs has been increasing over the past several years, with nearly 5% of passenger car sales across Canada being EVs in 2018. There are many benefits to EVs, including that they are:

  • Environmentally friendly: EVs run on BC’s clean electricity and emit no GHG emissions. Even when considering their entire lifecycle (such as battery manufacturing), they have a much lower environmental impact than conventional cars. They have no tailpipe, so improve our local air quality as well!
  • Cheaper to operate: EVs can cost as little as $320 per year to fuel (compared to the average BC driver spending $2,400 on gas!), and have much lower maintenance costs because they have so few moving parts.
  • Convenient to charge: Most drivers install an EV charger at home, and rarely have to worry about fuelling up on the go. But with BC’s growing network of charging stations, finding a charge en route to your destination or around town is easier and more convenient than ever.

There are increasing models of EVs available, with a wide range of price points. Check out PlugIn BC’s list of EVs available in BC.

Learn more about the benefits and common myths around EVs at PlugIn BC or in BC Hydro’s recently published report, Unplugged: Myths Block Road to the Electric Vehicle Car Dream.